Chances are if you have ever traveled or lived abroad you truly appreciate the importance of comfort food. Does it strike anyone else how favorite comfort foods from home are so difficult to buy or replicate abroad? What gives? Or maybe it’s a reverse psychological effect “gimme what I can’t get” deal. Smoked bacon, pepperjack cheese, and unsweetened peanut butter give me the most trouble in Japan. They are obtainable, but the effort it takes to get them puts a damper on their deliciousness.
Today I was reflecting on the move to India. Not only will food from the US be hard to find, but Japanese food as well. I began to mentally tick off my comfort foods here in Japan. Tonjiru is definitely in my top five. Essentially it is a more substantial miso soup with the added savory flavor of pork. Culturally, I’d liken it to chicken soup back home, minus the magical healing properties.
How to wing it:
Pot full of water. Bring to a boil.
Add bite size carrot, onion, daikon radish, asparagus (really, any veggie that is good in soup. color is important though–looking for white, orange, and green). Boil until soft.
Add bite size tofu and konjac (which Wikipedia just informed me is also referred to as: devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, and snake palm. hell yeah.)
Add minced pork (the more you add the greasier, yummier it gets)
Reduce heat to simmer. Add in miso (never boil miso. my first homestay mom taught me this. I don’t know what happens if you do because she made me too afraid to ever try it.) When serving, add chopped green onion & sprinkle with shichimi (seven flavor chili pepper)
I know I can’t get konjac in India and tofu is doubtful. I intend to bring a suitcase full of miso, but I don’t expect it to last long. And so the pining begins even though it has been less than four hours since my last bowl. Anyone know the Indian equivalent to chicken soup or tonjiru? There must be one!